Frederick J. Peabody fpeabody at USD.EDU
Thu Feb 18 11:02:45 CST 1999

Others have responded, but I will add my 2 cents.

The Latin "Venus" is a nominative case in the _third_ declension.  The
"-us" suffix is usually a second declension masculine noun, but not in
this case.

In order to form other words from a nominative root one needs to
discover the "stem" of the word.  This is best done by removing the
suffix from the _genitive_ case, not the nominative case.  The reason
for this is that some words, like "Venus," have an irregular nominative
form.  Simply removing what one assumes to be the ending and adding
another of the proper form will not give the correct stem and ending

Our case in point is the nominative "Venus," which has the genitive
"Veneris."  The suffix of the genitive is "-is," so the stem becomes
"Vener-" to which appropriate endings may be added.

The same is the case for the irregular noun "Asclepias" whose genitive
case is "Asclepiadis."  This is why the name of the family, of which
Asclepias is the type genus, is "Asclepiadaceae" and not "Asclepiaceae"
or some other malformation.
F.J. Peabody

> On further reflection concerning my suggestion yesterday
> that species should be named after goddesses personifying
> Mother Nature, a problem comes to mind. Suppose you
> wanted to name a species after Venus? I mean the goddess,
> not the planet. Naming a new species of Eragrostis
> (love grass) after her might be nice. But what would
> the epithet be? I cannot figure this out using Stearn's
> Botanical Latin. The suffix -us is ususally masculine, but
> not in this case. Maybe you have to make it "aphrodites"
> instead.
>    Just a thought.
> --
> Dr. Joseph E. Laferriere
> "Computito ergo sum ...  I link therefore I am."

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